Parathyroidectomy is a safe and effective procedure, and the risk of complications is very low. The most common complications are voice hoarseness and hypoparathyroidism.

Voice Hoarseness

  • The nerves that supply the vocal cords are located at each side of the trachea (windpipe) beneath the thyroid gland.
  • Injury to the nerves that control the vocal cords will cause hoarseness of the voice.
  • In less than 1% of cases this voice hoarseness is permanent.
  • About 25% of patients will experience some degree of voice dysfunction not related to nerve injury. This mild voice change is usually temporary and is caused by irritation from the breathing tube used during the operation and from operating around the voicebox. This mild voice dysfunction may take anywhere from a day or two up to a few months to resolve.


  • Hypoparathyroidism is under-function of the remaining parathyoid gland(s).
  • It results in a low blood calcium level.
  • Calcium and Vitamin D supplements are used to treat the low blood calcium.
  • Only 2-5% of patients will need to take calcium supplements and Vitamin D on a long-term basis for permanent hypoparathyroidism (lasting more than 6 months after surgery).

This information is provided by the Department of Surgery at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. It is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition.